The world is a heavy place these days. People are scared. People are hurting. People are dying. It’s very difficult to find a balance between information and peace. I’m not here to add to any of that but, as I said the other day, this blog can be a respite. A place to come where we talk about everyday things that are fun, sometimes messy, and generally safe.
In thinking about all of that, I have come up with 3 ways to help lower my own anxiety and I’m thinking maybe they might help you, too.
- Cultivate gratitude. It’s no secret that I write in a gratitude journal every morning. I do this right after I get up while I am waiting for my coffee to brew. The things on my list are as simple as seeing the moon from my window to as deep as being grateful that my husband wasn’t killed when he got hit by a car. (The day after his accident I listed the same thing 5 times: Dale is alive.) Sometimes my list feels like a highlight reel of the previous day and that’s okay, too. I frequently think about what I will put on my list and it helps me to remember that I have lots to be thankful for and it’s also pretty cool to go back and re-read my lists occasionally now that I’ve been doing this for over 2 1/2 years.
- Recognize contentment. There are moments every day where I feel content and at peace. Sitting on the couch with my feet in Dale’s lap. Having Fred and George curled up next to me. Reading a book while snuggled under a super soft blanket in my favorite chair. Sharing a good belly laugh with a friend. Coloring with Jackie. Writing a really great blog post. These are the moments that make me feel most like myself and I think it’s very important to acknowledge them when they happen.
- Extend grace. Sometimes I forget to be grateful. Sometimes I feel resentment instead of contentment. I go to dark places in my head. I wish I hadn’t experienced childhood trauma and had felt safe and carefree. I wonder why I got this stupid autoimmune disease. I get cut off in traffic or the grocery store doesn’t have something I need or I hear annoying political comments from ignorant people. In those moments, I try to extend grace to myself instead of berating myself for my thoughts. I acknowledge that things can be shitty and try to remember that it’s all just temporary and that not everything is about me. Everyone has something in their life that’s crappy, whether it’s a job or relationship or physical ailment and we all deserve a little grace.
Those are the things I do to increase my happiness and bring more joy into my world. I recognize that it’s a privilege to have the ability to do this because my needs are met and I am safe. And those are things I’m grateful for every day.
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